Adware And The Case Against Bundled Software

By , December 20, 2014 12:02 pm

Bundling software applications together is a practice much abused by purveyors of adware. The potential for sneaking unwanted software into a bundle of desirable software is obvious. The benefits of bundling software aren’t so obvious. Isn’t it time to consider dumping the practice of bundling software altogether

Bundled Software: When Is It Not Adware

If a user wants a piece of software, why can’t he or she be allowed to install it separately If the bundled softwa…
Bundling software applications together is a practice much abused by purveyors of adware. The potential for sneaking unwanted software into a bundle of desirable software is obvious. The benefits of bundling software aren’t so obvious. Isn’t it time to consider dumping the practice of bundling software altogether

Bundled Software: When Is It Not Adware

If a user wants a piece of software, why can’t he or she be allowed to install it separately If the bundled software were essential to the functioning of the original software (excluding generic functions such as install, un-uninstall, and documentation), why wouldn’t the developer build its functions directly into the original software

Sure, sometimes there’s a software application that clearly complements another application. But for users who do not want the complementary software, having it just means a bloated install file and a needlessly long installation process.

Does the chance that users will want the bundled software ever outweigh the risk of the bundled software being installed without the user noticing In the case of adware, the technology community is increasingly willing to put the burden of proof on the adware bundlers:

* Cnet’s website recently removed any and all software that comes bundled with another piece of software that shows advertising, regardless of how well informed the user is of the bundled software.

* Affiliate networks such as Commission Junction and Kolimbo have either cautioned advertisers against accepting adware distributors into their affiliate programs or kicked them out altogether.

* Many technology law experts are saying that the click-wrap license agreements that supposedly legitimate adware are not proof of informed consent. Some experts even say that such agreements amount to unconscionable contracts: the burden imposed by adware is so great and the benefit offered so negligible.

Adware and Bundled Software: A Modest Proposal

If the spam arms race is any indication, we may soon face even more aggressive attempts to get adware on our computers. There will be even more tortured arguments that bundled adware is installed with users’ informed consent. Why not head off any of those arguments right now Let’s push for an industry standard that reputable developers do not bundle software (with a few highly specific exceptions such as documentation, installation, and error reporting).

In the end, by getting rid of bundled software, what do we have to lose except adware

Computer Consultant Knowledge: Do You Have to Know Everything?

By , December 18, 2014 3:49 pm

Computer Consultant job descriptions don’t only include technical skills. People skills and problem-solving abilities will take you far as a computer consultant.
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Will you be expected to know anything and everything about anything that could ever go wrong with small-business IT? No.

Do You Need to Be Better at Technical or People Skills?

To be a great computer consultant, you just need to be really well organized and be a friendly person that enjoys helping other people. Yes, you need to be extremely resourceful; but you don’t need to be a technical genius to be a computer consultant.

In a lot of ways, being a technical genius can hold you back. Computer Consulting is very much a people business. But even if you have great tech skills and you’re a little shy when it comes to things like working the room, you can get better at it.

Do You Have the Right Skills?

How does someone know whether they really have the right technical skills or enough skills to become a computer consultant? Don’t let a lack of certifications hold you back. It’s just not that important to the typical non-technical small business owner or non-technical small business manager. Until you start selling to an IT director, which typically you only start to see when you get on to accounts that have at least 40, 50, or 75 PCs.

Small Business Owners Want the Whole Package

The typical small business owner or manager is not shopping for credentials. They are buying you, they are buying your business expertise. They are also buying your solution expertise; your ability that you work with other companies like theirs.

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Computer Viruses – the basics

By , December 16, 2014 6:55 pm

This article is intended for the new or casual computer user who wants to know about man made viruses (aren’t they all?) that may plague system files, internet files, hard drives and e-mails and what to do about it.
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In its simplest terms a virus is a disruptive computer code period!
A computer virus almost always repeats itself and spreads by attaching itself to other files. Viruses can be made to host a number of harmful things on any computer from disrupting files to crashing networks. It can even be laying dormant, without you knowing it’s there and then attack when least expect it, like right in the middle of downloading a large file or typing a long report.

It can even be made to open at a certain date, sitting like a timebomb until it’s time arrives. As you can see it can be annoying at the very least.
I do not want go into all the different types of viruses here because there are so many and more are being made everyday in some dank basement by the Dark Lord.
However, since so many viruses came from unknowingly opening e-mails I would like to mention some basics here:

Never open e-mail attachments unless you know for sure who it’s from and that it’s safe.
Some mail programs will even ask if you trust the attachment and if you’re sure this you want to do. Your computer software can also scan attachments for viruses.
The danger is that when the attachment is opened the virus can attach itself to your hard drive and damage files. Not only that, it can search your saved e-mail addresses and send itself out to your friends, business partners and whoever is on the list, masking the message to look like a legitimate one from you. It will probably have an attachment too and when opened will infect other computers.

Many people like to download music, video, games or other programs from different sites. If it is a site you dealt with before and trust it may be safe ok, but if you’re not sure you can always run a virus scan on the download before installation. (You will need to check the anti-virus program that came with your system on procedures). This security measure is necessary because some downloads may contain virtues, spyware or adware ?these last two can collect personal information, note your browsing habits and spam your e-mail with unwanted ads. Some software sites will offer a readme file that shows technical information on the download (if you like tech talk) as well as contact info.
The better sites that offer downloads will test and scan all there software programs before going online with it. As a last resort you can do an internet search for reviews on that particular company to see if others got burned.

This may sound scary to some but the fact is in this world anyone who owns a computer will have to look over there shoulders for hidden attacks when working with online.
That said there are some things should do to prevent viruses from attacking your computer:

* Download the latest virus definition lists ( files that tell your computer what to scan for) that’s used for your anti-virus program.

* Check to see if your internet service provider has tools to stop viruses before they can reach your mailbox.

* Always back-up your computer on CD-R disks or other media in case you loose some or all your data.

* You can scan software for viruses before installing it. (See system manual for procedure)

* Set your security settings at the highest level.

* Check your web browser and e-mail settings.

Doing these things at least every week will help keep your computer up to date on Virus protection and running safely.

Tips On How To Replace Laptop Hard Drives Effectively

By , December 14, 2014 9:18 pm

Do not ever rush into immediately replacing your laptop hard drive if you or an expert has not yet troubleshoot the problem. The very first thing you must do when trying to replace the hard drives of your laptop is to remove the battery.

Two Types Of Action In Replacing Hard Drives

Hard drive replacement in laptops entails two types of action. One is easier which is by the “access” action or the “bringing the entire laptop apart” action. Various models and brands of laptops would determine which action you are supposed to take for your laptop. For models that require the access action, first you expose the hard drive which is hidden at the back of a detachable panel on the lower part of the laptop. This you have to take out by removing the screw with a screw driver, of course.

Look at it closely and you will see that the hard drive depends on the cage where it’s attached to. It is actually the power data, the data connector on one end and the spring steel tab on another end that protects both the hard drive and the cage. Here are some tips on how to properly replace your laptop’s hard drive.

Removing The Cage From The Old Drive

Unscrew and take away the cage. Make sure you will remember how to put the cage back after you have finished replacing the hard drive. Because you will need to mount it back the same way you found it. At the time your hard drive has already been mounted in the cage, you may then start dong the reassembly for the whole cage.

Reassembly Of The Laptop Hard Drive

Make sure that you maintain the drive on a position that is on a shallow angle. In other words, make sure that when you put the hard drive, it is close to the laptop’s bottom. You may do this while you slide all the pins into the connector.

Hard Drives Slim And Light: Need Extra Care When Putting Them Back

Also, be careful when putting the laptop hard drive because laptop hard drives are known for not being so hardy and sturdy. In fact, they are extremely slim and very light that you do not need to exert any more mechanical pressure on them.
This is why hard drive replacement has become quite a nerve-racking activity for some people, especially those who have not tried doing it before. The key is, do not ever apply any force on it, and you will be able to do this task just fine.

Restoration CD For Your Laptop

Now, the last step would be to replace the lid or cover in your laptop hard drive by using a long screw, and then simply attach it again to the laptop’s bottom. There is an emergency restoration for the CD that goes with the laptop. And this is used to reload every software you need on your desktop. However, you always have to have back-up of all your data as they cannot be restored by this restoration CD.

Understanding Operating Systems

By , December 13, 2014 12:32 am

Every new computer that’s brought home from the store has an operating system installed onto it. But what most new computer users don’t realize, is that without an operating system, that computer would be a simple shell of possibilities. A powered computer lacking an operating system wouldn’t display anything more than a bunch of confusing text messages that describe the computer’s boot process. At the very end of this process, the computer looks for an operating system and if not found, it will prompt the user to tell it where it is.

Earlier computers didn’t have an operating system and if you have experience with the computers of the early eighties, you’ll remember that most to them didn’t even have a hard drive! These old computers booted an MS-DOS type operating system from drivers stored onto a floppy disk, and in order to use a program, users would remove the boot floppy and then insert a new floppy that contained the program. The floppy not only stored the program (word processor, spreadsheet, etc., it also stored the drivers that the program needed to communicate with the computer’s hardware. As you can imagine, the cumbersome process of switching from floppy to floppy prompted the birth of the operating system.

An operating system is a software program that controls how the computer’s hardware (and installed software works. It manages the activity of every component and then displays that activity as a user-friendly interface (GUI. It keeps track of where things exist on a computer’s hard drive as well. But perhaps most importantly for the end-user, the operating system is responsible for translating commands issued with a keyboard and mouse into binary code (010110101 stuff that can communicate with a set of speakers, a printer, a scanner, and more.

With an operating system installed onto a computer’s hard drive, users no longer need to boot a computer with a floppy disk, nor do they need to run programs from a floppy disk. All the drivers of a program are stored onto the computer and used whenever a program is started.

Apple’s Macintosh computer was among the first of a couple systems to establish a user-to-hardware relationship through a user-friendly interface. Today, we have quite a few operating systems. Some of the more popular ones are Windows Vista, Mac OS X, ZETA, IBM, Unix, and Linux. But even still, operating systems have extended onto to non-computer devices such as game consoles, portable music players, and PDAs. Regardless of the device, the operating system installed onto it serves the same purpose across the board: to enable user-to-hardware communication.

When you think about upgrading your computer to a new operating system, be careful to make sure that you have the necessary hardware components. We tried to upgrade one of our Windows 98 machines to Windows XP, but we were cautioned that the former may not be hardware compatible with XP technology. Apparently, the Windows XP operating system requires components that weren’t developed at the time Windows 98 was distributed and if we were to install Windows XP on this machine anyway, the new operating system would look for hardware that the computer didn’t have. And that would be an instant recipe for failure.

Also be careful about installing operating systems that are incompatible with existing hardware. The hardware of Macintosh computers is extremely different from the hardware of Windows computers and under no circumstances will a Windows operating system work on a Macintosh machine!


Affiliate Tracking Software Review: PartnersManager

By , December 11, 2014 3:01 am

Online, you will find a large number of affiliate tracking software programs. If you are a business owner who is looking to start your own affiliate program, you will need to familiarize yourself with all of these programs. When searching for affiliate tracking software, you will be presented with so many choices that you may not know which type of software is best for your needs. The first step is to determine what you need and want to get out of affiliate tracking software and then find the program that can give you that.

In your search, it is likely that you will come across PartnersManager Affiliate Software. Whether you are the owner of a large or small online business, you may find that this software program has exactly what you need. However, it is not safe to assume that it is. Instead, you will want to further examine the PartnersManager Affiliate Software. When doing so, you will want to examine the software requirements and the services and features that are included with the program.

PartnersManager Affiliate Software requires that your system have a PHP of at least 4.1.0. It is also required that you have MySQL, version 3.23 or higher, and a MySQL database. For a web service, it is advised that you have IIS or Apache. Since the aforementioned computer specifications are considered requirements, you will need them to run the program. If your computer is not equipped to handle the PartnersManager Affiliate Software, but you want this particular affiliate tracking software program, you are advised to update your computer to meet their standards.

When examining any affiliate tracking software, including the PartnersManager Affiliate Software, you are advised to examine what the program will require you to do. This often includes setup and installation. What is nice about PartnersManager is that they provide you with downloadable user manuals and demos before you even signup for their program. This is important because not all software providers do this, even though they should. Perhaps, user manuals and demos are the best way to determine whether or not the PartnersManager Affiliate Software is what you need.

With PartnersManager Affiliate Software, a detailed user guide will not be all that you will receive. Once you signup for the software service, you will find that a lot is included in their purchase price. For instance, all subscribers will be able to receive three free months of customer support. These three months are just enough time for you to familiarize yourself with the software and learn to use it without assistance. Other common features, such as cookie enabled software and detailed earnings reports, are included with this affiliate tracking software.

Unlike other affiliate tracking software, PartnersManager also gives you the option to try their service for free. This free trial is for a one month period. After the trail period has ended, you can determine whether or not you would like to continue on with a paid membership. This effective, but easy to use software program is what so many business owners want and need that many continue on with the paid service. If you decide to do that too, you will only have to pay a onetime license fee; there will be no monthly payments required. You will also receive free software updates whenever they become available.

PartnersManager has and is still used by many online business owners. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that the program will be right for you; however, with a little bit of research, you should easily be able to determine if it is.


Facing Computer And Cyber Security Threats

By , December 9, 2014 6:08 am

Who did fall for any cyber security threat? Cyber security crimes are not just limited to hacking, financial, personal and work-related information theft. Viruses, worms, Trojan horse, spyware and malware are among the cyber security threats that can affect our computers and machines and our personal lives as well.

Consumer Reports reported in 2006 that U.S. consumers would spend $7.8 billion in the last two years for computer repairs, parts and replacements because of being attacked by malware and viruses. Everybody is being concerned with cyber attacks, businesses whether they are major or small businesses are expressing concern about the increasing ability of security threats to infiltrate information. Businesses are taking necessary steps to protect their customer’s financial information.

The government can also be exposed to cyber security threats. Allowing public access can also increase the risks of data leaks, infiltration and cyber attacks. Therefore it is necessary to invest and have intensive and long-term solutions that would address cyber attacks.

Government agencies are coming up with methods that could help in addressing cyber attacks. Aside from these programs, as individuals or organizations, there are also ways to help in providing with long-term solutions to quick-developing problems. Here are some steps that the government has taken so far.

• There are different kinds of agencies and institutions dedicated in fighting cyber attacks. InfraGard is actually a partnership between the FBI and different members of the private sector like businesses , academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and individuals. These 30,000 strong-organization is dedicated in sharing different kinds of information and intelligence to address criminal and violent acts.

• The government and also different organizations are reaching out to more CEOs of different businesses to help them understand cyber threat and what is needed to be done. This would help the government to come up with resources and policies that would help them build long- term prevention plans.

• Aside from local and national partnerships, international partnerships are also being done. Cyber security is not just an issue of one country, it is a global issue. Data and numbers of cyber security victims have encompasses geographical location and race. Cyber security issues can never be resolved by one nation alone. This would require coordination among countries at regional and global levels.

• Analyze and evaluate the loopholes and vulnerabilities. Agencies and institutions who have major cyber security problems, normally have networks and users spread out in different buildings and networks. Avoiding any cyber security problems and threat would be about identifying vulnerabilities and overcoming this.

• When looking for solutions, the you would have to stick to the basics. Technology is a dynamic process, it is a continuous change and improvement. The only way to make sure that your infrastructure and your system is safe is being prepared for it.

Cyber security threats do not stay the same over a period of time. It evolves. It changes and could go around the different security barriers set up to face its attacks.

How many times have we heard that the best cure is prevention? We should be thinking about that. Too much reliance and putting too much of our lives on computers has a risk that we should be able to handle and face. We should be prepared in hading cyber security issues from case to case and in every moment.

When Less Is More

By , December 7, 2014 9:30 am

Clean Your Disk Drive of Unnecessary Files and Your Computer’s Performance Will Improve

When it comes to maintaining your computer, you’ve probably heard it all before. “Run Defrag!” “Scan Your Disk for Errors!” Although these two activities are important, there’s more you can do to extend the life of your computer beyond today’s predicted two-year span. In fact, by following the simple advice below, you can enjoy the use of your computer to up to five years or more – reserving expenses to simple software upgrades rather then complete and costly hardware upgrades.

One of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to extend the life of your computer is to get rid of unnecessary programs, folders, and files. A disk drive that’s clogged with unnecessary and unused files is disk drive that works harder than it has to. Although Window’s defrag system can ease some of the stress that these files place onto the drive, it doesn’t do much to get rid of the problem in the first place. This is because the defrag program simply organizes the files in a system that makes it easier for the computer to access. (Thus cutting down on the work required to find and load them. But this method merely “relieves” the symptoms that these files induce – it doesn’t attack the cause. These files need to be deleted – not “organized!”

Of course, deleting files can be a scary adventure to most users. Most computer users don’t know which files are safe to delete and which aren’t.

The worst thing anyone could do is snoop around crucial Window directories and haphazardly delete files that don’t look familiar. Doing so could render important programs inoperable, corrupt the Windows operating system, and possibly prevent the computer from even starting. That’s why using special deletion software is so important. Deletion programs will analyze a computer’s operating system and installed programs to determine which files are crucial to computer function versus which files are safe to delete.

You already have such a program on your computer and it’s Windows’ Add/Remove Programs (available from the Control Panel. This software will assist you with deleting programs that you not only no longer want, but additional files that these program use as well (dynamic link libraries, database files, registry references, shortcut icons, etc..

But sometimes Windows’ Add/Remove Programs isn’t enough. Although this software does a pretty good job of removing unwanted programs, it can leave some files behind even after a complete uninstall – files which become orphan files. And it’s these orphan files that can really clutter up a hard drive and shorten the life of an otherwise, young and robust PC.

Orphans are usually files that contain temporary data created by a program, files created by the user, partial files left over from a computer crash, or any other kind of miscellaneous files created for almost any other reason. The problem is that an uninstall program doesn’t delete the orphan files it leaves behind because they were never part of the program when it was first installed. An uninstall program can remove only the files it placed onto a hard drive during its install routine.

So while Windows’ Add/Remove Programs can remove an entire program, you’ll need to get rid of those pesky little things with a more advance file cleaner like CleanSweep for example. CleanSweep is a unique program that will specifically seek out files that are no longer associated with a program, and then ask if you want to delete them.

The only time that you wouldn’t want to delete an orphan file is if the file were an actual document that you created before deleting a program. If you were to say, uninstall Microsoft Word, all the documents that you created with Word would then turn into orphan files. Or if you were to uninstall a graphics-editing program, all the pictures you made with the program would become orphan files.

The smart thing to do when you don’t want to lose the data that you created with an unwanted program is to:

1. Save or convert your documents to a format that will work with different program first (that is, a program that you intend to keep
2. Archive them onto a floppy disk, flash drive, or CD-ROM
3. Proceed with a program like CleanSweep.

Using CleanSweep or any other similar type of utility could delete anywhere from less than a megabyte of hard drive space to over five megabytes and up. That may seem like a small amount of “clog material” to you, but to your computer, it’s a lot less to process!

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Why Do We Need Cyber Security?

By , December 5, 2014 12:24 pm

Why do we need cyber security? There a number of reasons. The cyber community changes in an unbelievable pace. Unfortunately, along with these changes are equally unbelievable threats. The nature of the Internet as a tool for communication and education has been used and misused for personal gain, which resulted in cyber attacks and unprecedented rise in cyber crime rates. These rates are expected to increase more rapidly in the coming years if cyber security is not put in place. So, why exactly do we need cyber security? Let us count the reasons.

1.) Hackers are everywhere. He can be your business rival, your neighbor, or simply a person out to take over your computer. He makes use of software loopholes and hijacks your computer through backdoors, usually installed programs, or through cracking software. When he finally marches into your computer, he can gain access to possibly all your personal and confidential information such as bank accounts, credit cards, or top trade secret. He can also use your computer to attack other networks, with you apparently oblivious to all his malicious operations.

2.) Internet scams and frauds are rampant. These include phishing, a very organized cyber crime, which deceives people into giving their banking details. Cyber criminals, pretending to be representatives from legitimate financial institutions, send e-mail messages and ask unsuspecting people to verify their passwords, account numbers, and other vital information. According to a report, in 2006 alone, phishing attempts increased by 81%. These attempts could effectively be counterattacked if they weren’t too sophisticated to actually deaden spam filters.

3.) Cyber theft is a common cyber crime. In fact, it is the most reported. Over time, it has increasingly become so easy for cyber criminals to steal information from computers, not only from individuals but for companies, banks, and other organizations as well. Though they hardly report the case, big companies lose large amounts of money.

4.) Virus can slow down your computer. Worse, it can cause system crash. Virus reaches your system through a number of entryways. One is through unsecured and unknown websites from which you download files, programs, applications, or tools for free. As much as it can infect home computers, virus can leave damaging effects to companies, both big and small. For instance, Melissa virus hit Microsoft and other big companies in 1999, which led them to temporarily terminate their e-mail systems.

5.) Spyware, as the name hints, can spy on you. A computer program automatically installed on your computer, spyware tracks personal information you entered and sends it to its creator. In most cases, spyware is used to steal big sum of money. Unlike computer viruses, spyware leaves the computer owners totally unaware of its presence. A study revealed that 92% of users with infected systems don’t know that spyware has broken into their computers.

6.) Adware can keep unwanted ads to show up. Like spyware, adware penetrates the system through shareware. On its own, it downloads ads and allows them to run and pop up. This proves to be quite annoying for computer owners. But what’s even more troubling is that adware can sometimes contain spyware. This increases the risk for cyber threats.

Why do we need cyber security? Cyber criminals are smart beings. They find ways to get into our systems and create havoc in less time than we expect. And because they don’t cease to innovate and produce more sophisticated threats, we should always put our guard on and reinforce whatever cyber security measures we have these days.

Online Retail Store Owners: Increase Your Sales with Affiliate Tracking Software

By , December 3, 2014 3:48 pm

Running an online retail stores can be a profitable business venture; however, it is one that does not come easy. With a large amount of online competition, many business owners are finding it difficult to make a substantial amount of income from their online store, especially small business owners. If this situation sounds alto familiar, you should not give up. Instead, you are urged to look at other ways to increase your online sales. That can easily be done with an affiliate tracking software program.

If you are wondering what affiliate tracking software is, you are not alone. There are many business owners who are unsure exactly what it is, even though many of them are actually using it. To understand how your business can benefit from this software, you must first learn what it is and what it is used for. Affiliate tracking software is vital to the success of an affiliate program. Essentially it is the affiliate program that helps to increase your business’s sales; however, that increase is not possible without affiliate tracking software.

The main goal of an affiliate tracking software program is to help you, the business owner, understand where your sales are coming form. This is extremely important, especially if you have more than one affiliate. An affiliate is defined as a website owner, webmaster, or web publisher. Once you start your own affiliate program, it is likely that you will work with a number of these individuals. You will work with them by giving them links and banner to your online store. With special software, the affiliate tracking software, those links and banners will be coded and monitored. The software program will then, easily, be able to determine which one of your affiliates helped your business generate a sale.

A large number of business owners already participate in an affiliate program. Most of them have seen success; however, it is important to remember that you will not be guaranteed results. Of course, it is important to remember that any business strategy takes risks. If you are interested in determining firsthand whether or not your business can benefit from an affiliate program, you are advised to get searching. That search should be for the affiliate tracking software program that best fits your needs.

When searching for affiliate tracking software, it is likely that you will come across a number of different software programs. There are hundred of available programs for you to choose from, but not all of them are the same. Before deciding on an affiliate tracking software, you are advised to examine all of your available options. This can easily be done by comparing a number of affiliate programs, side by side. You can either do your own comparison or you can easily find similar comparisons already done online. These comparisons can be found with a standard internet search.

In addition to the services and features included with each software program, it may also be a good idea to examine how much that software costs. A number of affiliate tracking software sellers charge a flat rate for using their software program. That flat rate will generally be enough until the software program is updated or goes out-of-date. On the other side of the fence, there are software sellers who charge a monthly fee for using their affiliate tracking software. If you are interested in just testing the waters, these may be a wise choice for you and your business. In most cases, if you decide that your affiliate program is not in the best interest of your business, you should be able to cancel your subscription to the software program. This cancellation often allows you a way out, without having to lose any money.

By taking the time to research and properly examine a number of different affiliate tracking software programs, you and your business may be able to see a substantial increase in sales. Many times, business owners are not only able to pay for their software, but also see a steady rise in profits.


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